A Visit to Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin Patch
October 15, 2012Posted by pamela |
This weekend we checked out the popular Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin Patch, one of the few pumpkin patches actually located in Marin County. This certified organic pumpkin patch, located in the small west Marin village of Nicasio, is located just west of the Nicasio village square right on Nicasio Valley Road. Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin Patch is open seven days a week through Halloween from 10 am to 6 pm, and it's definitely worth a visit this season.
Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin Patch offers a wide variety of certified organic pumpkins spread out in an expansive meadow on the farm. Although in previous visits we noticed pumpkins being grown on-site, we didn't see any this year. Pumpkin varieties ranged from your standard Halloween jack-o-lantern types to white ones, green ones, and flat European "Cinderella" style squash. The farmstand also offers of gourds, squash, decorative cornstalks, apples, and other organic vegetables, as well as drinks and snacks.
Like many Halloween pumpkin patches, Nicasio Valley Farms offers the obligatory jumpy house and inflatable slide, which cost $2 and $1, respectively; a discount book of 20 tickets is available, too. There are also hay rides through the fields ($3 per person), pony rides from Victoria's Fashion Stables ($6), a petting zoo ($3), and some farm animals for children to visit.
Other fun includes a couple straw bale mazes for kids to get lost in—don't worry, they're not difficult to figure out, so nobody's really going to get lost. There's also a real effort to make your trip to the pumpkin patch a real educational experience. There are educational exhibits and activities, including informative placards from the Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT) placed throughout the farm.
The rural Nicasio setting is, as always, breathtaking. There's an expansive seating area with picnic tables and umbrellas, so you can relax and take in the rural scenery and even eat lunch. If you arrive hungry, Big Jim's BBQ is on hand on weekends to serve up pulled pork, tri-tip, sausages, and hot dogs and other treats like organic ice cream are available, too.
You can also enjoy some live music at the pumpkin patch on weekends. Look for Marin's favorite children's musician and recording artist Tim Cain (and the county's hardest working man in show business!) every Sunday from 11 am to noon, and the fantastic local country/Americana/roots rock band Manzanita Moon performs Saturdays and Sundays from 12:30 to 4 pm.
Sunday, October 21 is MALT Day, which will feature all sorts of food, children's games and crafts, local beer and wine, farm animals, and educational booths where you and your family can learn about the role of agriculture in Marin County. A portion of pumpkin sales that day will support MALT. MALT Day takes place from 10 am–6 pm.
Pumpkin prices were on the high side; but this being the Bay Area and with the certified organic pedigree and all, it's not too surprising. The smallest pumpkins were $3, and prices ranged all the way up to $30 for the large ones. Most people, however, were happily shelling out $100 for a wheelbarrow full of large organic pumpkins.
Overall we had a great time at Nicasio Valley Farms. It's an unbeatable experience here in Marin, in a place that easily accessible from almost anywhere in the county. Check it out when you get a chance. For more information, call them at (415) 662-9100.
If you go
To get to Nicasio Valley Farms from northern Marin, take 101 to Lucas Valley Road. Head west on Lucas Valley Road until you get to Nicasio Valley Road. Turn right onto Nicasio Valley Road and follow it through the village of Nicasio. Nicasio Valley Farms will be on your immediate right as you head out of the village. You can also take Novato Boulevard west to Point Reyes-Petaluma Road. Turn left on Point Reyes-Petaluma Road and follow it until you get to Nicasio Valley Road. Turn left onto Nicasio Valley Road and follow it to Nicasio; you'll see the pumpkin patch just past Nicasio School.
Parking is in a small lot near the farm entrance, along Nicasio Valley Road, and in an overflow lot behind the farm. One bit of advice—try to get there early, as this pumpkin patch is extremely popular!
From southern and central Marin, take Sir Francis Drake Boulevard west to Nicasio Valley Road. Turn right onto Nicasio Valley Road (at San Geronimo Golf Course) and follow it until you get to Nicasio.
Restrooms are available in the form of port-a-potties with outdoor hand-washing stations. The picnic area has plenty of shade, but hats and sunscreen is a must. Make sure you wear something you don't mind getting dusty and dirty, too.